User:SPIKE/Civics-12

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edit Forum:Is an indefinite ban too long for an "established user"?

edit American "democracy"

See monologues of Qzekrom and me from Sec. 9 of the above forum

Since the forum is now locked, and this is more about your ideas on politics (which interested me) I thought I would post here. America is not a democracy? Where do you get that idea (I honestly want to know). If it is not a democracy, what is it? As a fellow US Citizen, I know that the people do not *directly* elect the president; the electoral college do that. Was that what you were referring to?

I agree that we are not (all) American writers "burdened by" Canadian admins; some of the admins are from Great Britain, for instance, and some of the writers are from Ireland, Poland, Australia, and so on. Also, I haven't felt burdened by any admins at this point, though I do admit from time to time being vaguely annoyed by one decision or the other. So far I haven't been annoyed enough to make a forum, mind you, and this keeps me out of trouble. If anything burdens me, I will admit that on occasion the high standards here seem inhibiting to my creativity, maybe I just don't have the high level of talent that some others do. But I do see them as necessary to draw readers, (and potential contributors)and to avoid the site becoming inundated like the mirror site has become, with a high volume of low quality contributions. I could do something about that as a sysop on the mirror site, but I have yet to determine a method of doing it impartially and objectively. I have started by removing QVFD material as I notice it.

Having been in the workforce for 20 years or so, I am well aware that private organizations in a system of government are not run the same way the government is run. It would sometimes be nice if there was voting on the job, but usually this is not the case. Finally, in theory, admins should seek consensus from the user base on a serious decision, but in practice it isn't usually practical. Ban decisions have to be made in a timely manner, and consensus can take a very long time (take the Transformers colonization for example). I can understand an indefinite ban for ban evasion for instance, even if it wasn't the action that I would have taken in the same circumstance. Not everyone is going to agree with every action of the administrators, and that's just a fact and part of the job. Anyways, if you managed to read all of this, congratulations, some would have found it tl;dr. I am interested to hear your opinion on things. -- Simsilikesims(♀UN) Talk here. 04:31, May 14, 2012 (UTC)

I certainly did not get the notion that America is not a democracy from any of our last four Presidents, but from the Constitution and The Federalist (the collection of pamphlets that were written to sell the states on ratifying the Constitution; it is a difficult but a worthwhile read, as it shows that there is a reason for the way everything is, or was). America is a representative republic, which means the most important aspect is not popularity but propriety ("a nation of laws not of men"). The Founders hated the idea of democracy, which they recently saw operate, murderously, in France; and of the idea that majorities would be able to vote for specific outcomes (like "affordable" health care and low cable-TV rates). The reason we have a two-house Congress is not just to give New Hampshire 2 senators when its population merits less than one-half of one, but to have the two houses represent different power bases: The House represents the people (and has control over the purse!), but the Senate was appointed by state legislatures until the Seventeenth Amendment. The Federalist describes how this scheme put the states in conflict with Washington and protected us against centralization of power. All wise goals, until we forgot them all.
(I have friends in the Tea Party movement who hang their hats on a proposal to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment--that is, to ignore the economic depression (though in some ways it is also caused by centralized power, from TARP to Solyndra), take US Senator off our ballots, and smile that we are at harmony with our historic origins. That won't sell, but that's why they are in the Tea Party. Separately, I often wonder, if the Founders knew that their countrymen would morph from farmers and blacksmiths into web surfers who read and debate legislative bills and Supreme Court opinions on-line, whether they would have feared democracy so.)
Qzekrom's assertion that "Congress is supposed to make laws that make our lives better" exactly describes the "police power." The Tenth Amendment says this resides exclusively in the states, not in Washington, and what the Supreme Court is deciding right now is whether to junk Obama-care or to junk this principle.
Qzekrom wrote to argue, to readers worldwide, that the American system is designed to hear his opinions, that Uncyclopedia thus had a duty to do likewise, and that he had something important to add about the process of decision-making at Uncyclopedia. Wrong on all counts, and it hit my hot button so I risked taking the Forum further afield into a civics lesson. My "burdened" line was aimed at Qzekrom's implication that Zombiebaron was somehow reflecting Canadian-style governance (which he incorrectly characterized as fundamentally more "socialist" than the US), which supposedly needed to be harmonized with QZ's incorrect view of American governance. Spıke ¬ 12:27 14-May-12

In theory, America may be a nation of laws rather than men, but there are always men behind the laws. This is why we liberals argue so vehemently against the idea that "corporations are people" and should be allowed to contribute to political campaigns to their hearts' content. Behind corporations are powerful men or groups of men, and allowing corporations to donate gives these groups more power than perhaps is warranted. Lobbyists can be purchased, if you have enough money, and campaigns of advertising can be purchased, if you have enough money. Thus, the party with the most advertising money has a tendency to win the popular vote. Various senators and representatives stand behind their bills, and create this law or that law, by first creating bills, then gathering majority support for their bills in the House and Senate.

Ideally, the laws passed should improve people's lives, but everybody has a different idea of what improves people's lives. Take Obamacare for instance. I happen to think that it is an improvement that everybody has access to health insurance, and everybody potentially has coverage, except maybe the Scientologists, who could argue that their subscription to their church and its services is their insurance. I know several conservatives that disagree with this same viewpoint, and they think it is unconstitutional to make people purchase a service, even if the brand of the service is not specified. They argue that making people purchase health insurance does not improve people's lives and just creates an "unnecessary" expense. I would argue that the expense is indeed necessary unless there is a religious objection, and this argument could go on and on. But my conservative friends and I agree to disagree.

The states' laws are occasionally in conflict with the federal laws. Take for instance, the legalization of medical marijuana in various states, or the legalization of same sex marriage in several states. The federal laws tend to override the state laws in some cases, or else create difficulty in enforcement when there is a conflict. Thus, even national legislatures should strive to pass laws that improve the lives of people as much as possible. Again, there is not necessarily a consensus on what in fact does improve the lives of people, or even on what is moral. Some believe that the laws should reflect the morality of the people, but what is moral is not necessarily lawful, and what is lawful is not necessarily moral.

I agree with you that just because the American system of government works a certain way does not mean that Uncyclopedia has to work that way. However, there is a history of voting in Uncyclopedia, which does suggest democracy. On the other hand, the admins reserve the right to override the results of any vote if the admins have consensus among the admins. One single admin should not overturn a user vote without consensus among the admins, in my opinion, and I think other Uncyclopedians would agree with me. Admins of course, also have the right to lockdown a forum if they find it unproductive, which is somewhat of a contradiction to the idea of free speech. Free speech is usually promoted as a good thing on Uncyclopedia, except where it becomes unproductive and a means to create more drama. Various users have different points of view on when this point has been reached, which can occasionally cause discontent if they think it has been cut off too soon. -- Simsilikesims(♀UN) Talk here. 23:15, May 14, 2012 (UTC)

A liberal? Sigh, there is now an asterisk on my admiration for you.
The liberals I know disagree that "corporations are people" mostly as a catchy way to overturn the Citizens United verdict and reassert McCain-Feingold: To silence corporations, whose executives also tend to be Republicans. Corporate influence was not a problem when Congress was merely discussing the definition of murder, etc.; and the real problem now is that we have let Congress get into the business of subsidies, exclusive franchises, cheap loans, and bailouts. Businessmen can adapt to this as easily to changing customer preferences: Pay out $1 in lobbying or campaign contributions and you get $10 or $100 back in the first year. These new government powers cannot be exercised in the "public interest" and are only useful for sale to private parties. I am not so suspicious of the power of advertising as, from Phil Gramm to Newt Gingrich to Ron Paul, a guy with a bankroll but no coherent message doesn't prevail in politics. Nor does a firebrand who cannot convince any achievers to contribute money, and that is a safeguard.
Your second paragraph is merely a platitude that all laws should be nice. I was saying something more specific: that the class of laws that initiate force for the sake of bettering our lives (the "police power") is reserved to state government. I won't evaluate bills based on their niceness or their stated good intentions; that is, based on the sales pitch. Letting Washington force us to buy insurance and tell us what coverages must be included, whatever the good intention, is an inherently corrupting power. Corporations will pay to get their products mandated next, and no amount of corporations-are-not-people legislation will stop it.
The relation between states and Washington is more formal than you think. It is based on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, but depends (on an ad-hoc basis) on whether Washington has exercised dominion over a topic, and federal law often specifies what options are available to the states. Medical marijuana, alas, was an issue on which Justice Scalia stretched the Constitution and "interstate commerce" to give Washington control it should not have had. He might regret that if the Court sustains Obama-care.
Back to Uncyclopedia, it is but a marketplace: Wikia gives me free access to a server and lets me produce beautiful pages with instant, worldwide publication, and imposes few requirements, among them to obey temperamental admins, who usually put the interests of productivity and teamwork first. (I do not mind it when they shut down disruptive Forums; I do mind it when one stages a democratic vote but then structures it so that he wins.) If I dislike the result, I can take my business elsewhere--as I have mostly done in the last year. But that outlet (a newspaper) has no liberals as civil as you, is relatively unmoderated in the face of trolling and sabotage, and has just begun switching to pay-to-play. Uncyclopedia is not a government; Wikia is a business, I am a customer, and we do business for as long as it meets both our needs. Spıke ¬ 01:38 15-May-12
Condolences Mr Lebowski, The bums lost, The bums will alway lose!--Sycamore (Talk) 16:20, May 18, 2012 (UTC)
"God damn you....You fuckin' asshole! Everything's a fuckin' travesty with you, man!....What the fuck are you talking about?" Spıke ¬ 16:50 18-May-12

edit 2012 US election

So gorgeous chops...Will you be voting for Mr. Romney or Mister Paul?--Sycamore (Talk) 21:36, May 27, 2012 (UTC)

Without claiming I know Texas law, Ron Paul seems to have "suspended his campaign" in plenty of time to run for re-election to his Congressional seat. The Libertarian Party's candidate is not Paul but former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, though his main qualification is mountain-climbing and his only notable stump issue is marijuana. There is plenty of time, and the way is clear, for Romney to convince us he is essentially the same as Obama, as McCain did in 2008. Spıke ¬ 21:54 27-May-12

I find the politics of the US very interesting the moment - it's something that's ultimately going to affect everyone in some way I think, and it's seems even more polarized...--Sycamore (Talk) 17:54, May 28, 2012 (UTC)

Obama is extreme; perhaps not relative to Scottish politics, but certainly by his US Senate voting record and his current campaigns against Bain Capital and the concept of profit itself. McConnell and Boehner (the legislative leaders) and Romney are moderates with nothing to show for it; such "budget cuts" as they have negotiated are the usual Republican placeholder of slightly moderated spending increases "over ten years." The year-long search for alternatives to nominating Romney has identified a large voting bloc that doesn't want Moderate.
I think what will affect you guys the most is whether we are able (and willing) to project opposition to Iran and Russia, and stand with the UK, something at which Obama has been laughably inept. Spıke ¬ 19:10 28-May-12
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